KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Selangor executive councillor Datuk Teng Chang Khim said today he would discuss with the mentri besar about whether the state’s top officials should declare their assets as they did in 2014.
Teng said he had also previously declared his assets around 2008 or 2009, but the state government’s website had taken this down and put up the latest 2014 declaration instead.
“Since we declared upon taking office, upon relinquishing the job, then we [can] declare again, or unless the state government wants to make it periodical declarations every year,” Teng told Malay Mail Online.
Most of the Selangor state executive councillors’ asset declarations published on the state government’s website are dated in 2014, with only two dated this year and one in 2015. The state legislative assembly’s current term is due to end in less than a year.
Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, however, do not have any asset declarations listed.
Teng also said he did not believe that election candidates, backbencher MPs or state assemblymen should be required to declare their assets.
“They have no power or decision-making of the executive. For exco members, ministers, deputy ministers — I agree, no problem, but not for ordinary MPs or assemblymen,” said the DAP lawmaker.
He claimed that career professionals or wealthy corporate figures might be dissuaded from running for office if asset declarations were mandatory.
“In government, we need experienced people in their corporate career to be exco members or ministers,” said Teng.
Rafizi Ramli — who heads big data outfit Invoke that recently received the asset declarations of 26 politicians, mostly incumbent lawmakers, from PKR and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) — countered the argument that backbencher lawmakers had no power.
“Those who argue that you only need to be a minister or exco to declare assets should understand that a lot of corrupt politicians are lawmakers without a government position, but they have access to their party colleagues who are indeed with government positions.
“Therefore, they (these normal lawmakers) can exchange political support in return for government tenders and projects,” Rafizi said in a statement.
He also refused to apologise for Invoke soliciting asset declarations by offering campaign funds.
“I will not make an apology that Invoke adopts a ‘carrot-and-stick’ approach to compel our politicians to declare assets because we do not live in an ideal world,” said the Pandan MP from PKR.
The latest asset declarations publicly filed by the Penang state executive council were from 2013 at the start of the state legislative assembly’s current term that is due to end by August next year.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Rashid Hasnon said the state executive council already declared their assets in the middle of this year, but declined to provide copies to Malay Mail Online as the Chief Minister’s Office has yet to announce it.